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Oral history interview with Norm Costa

Norm Costa has lived in the Portland metro area since 1958. He transitioned from an engineering career to running his own beauty salon in Lake Oswego for several years during the 1960's. More recently, Costa has worked for decades as a gay rights activist, mostly working with local health departments on HIV prevention efforts. This interview describes many aspects of the gay experience in Portland over the course of those years, including his experience with politics and activism, personal experiences, gay-oriented clubs and businesses over the years, and the spread of the HIV virus in the early 1980's.

Costa, Norm

Lake Oswego Development Co. letter to Newton Langerman

A letter from the Lake Oswego Development Co. making an offer of land to a buyer in 1949. The letter stipulates that the property is “definitely restricted to the white race.” The black community defeated racist business practices such as this one by working with local and state leaders to pass the Civil Rights Bill, or Public Accommodations Bill, in 1953, which entitled all Oregonians “to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, religion, color, or national origin.” That law was followed by the Oregon Fair Housing Law in 1957 (amended in 1959).

Lake Oswego Development Co. (Or.)

Al Fausett's overturned canoe below Willamette Falls

Photograph of an overturned canoe floating in rough water below Willamette Falls, near Oregon City. It has the words “Al Fausett’s canoe” on the side. The photograph was taken March 31, 1928. A cropped version of this photograph was one of four published on the front page of the Oregon Journal on April 1, 1928, under the headline “Dare-Devil Falls Jumper and His Narrow Squeak at Oregon City.” This photograph had the following caption: “ ‘Bottoms up’ at foot of falls, with Fausett underneath.’ ” According to an accompanying story, headlined “Leaps Falls; Death Close,” Fausett was attempting to shoot Willamette Falls in a specially designed canoe, but the craft went over the falls sideways and resurfaced upside down. Fausett was rescued and was uninjured. See related image Nos. 371N5708, 377N0376, and 377N0377.

Al Fausett going over Willamette Falls in canoe

Photograph showing daredevil Al Fausett going over Willamette Falls sideways in a canoe on March 31, 1928. A cropped version of this photograph was one of four published on the front page of the Oregon Journal on April 1, 1928, under the headline “Dare-Devil Falls Jumper and His Narrow Squeak at Oregon City.” This photograph had the following caption: “ ‘Canoe dropping at crest of falls.” According to an accompanying story, headlined “Leaps Falls; Death Close,” Fausett was attempting to shoot Willamette Falls in a specially designed canoe, but the craft went over the falls sideways and resurfaced upside down. Fausett was rescued and was uninjured. See related image Nos. 371N0823, 377N0376, and 377N0377. Image note: Photograph shows extensive discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.

Swimmer diving into outdoor pool on winter day

Photograph of an unidentified person diving into a pool on a winter day. A building is visible in the background; the building’s roof and ground around the pool are covered with snow. The photograph may have been taken at the Swim Resort near Government Camp, Oregon. The resort was also known as the Mount Hood Mineral Springs. Also see image Nos. 374N0497 and 374N0551.

Ski jumper John Elvrum in midair

Photograph of John Elvrum in midair above Multorpor jump hill during a competition at the Portland Winter Sports Carnival on January 22, 1933. Events and festivities were held at Government Camp, Oregon. This photograph was one of five, including image Nos. 374N0495 and 374N0496, published on Page 1 of the Oregon Journal on January 23, 1933. The photographs were published under the headline “Some Views from the Court of the Queen of Snows.” This photograph had the caption: “John Elvrum of the Cascade Ski club, jumping.” The photographs accompanied a story, headlined “Winter Sports Events Viewed by Thousands.” Image note: The number 9 is written on the negative and is visible in the upper right corner of the image. Light leak on negative.

1933 Winter Sports Carnival queen and court

Photograph, taken January 22, 1933, of Marie Dawson, queen of the Winter Sports Carnival, on her throne at the foot of the Multorpor ski-jump hill near Government Camp, Oregon. The carnival court and Oregon Governor Julius L. Meier are with her on the platform. This photograph was one of five, including image Nos. 374N0490 and 374N0496, that were published on Page 1 of the Oregon Journal on January 23, 1933. The photographs were published under the headline “Some Views from the Court of the Queen of Snows.” This photograph had the caption: “Queen Marie and her court, with Berger Underdahl, president of the Winter Sports association, and Governor Meier in the foreground.” The photographs accompanied a story, headlined “Winter Sports Events Viewed by Thousands.” Also see image No. 374N0554. Image note: Light leak on negative.

Governor Julius L. Meier crowning queen of 1933 Winter Sports Carnival

Photograph of Oregon Governor Julius L. Meier and Marie Dawson, queen of the 1933 Winter Sports Carnival, on January 22, 1933, at the foot of the Multorpor ski-jumping hill near Government Camp, Oregon. This photograph was one of five, including image Nos. 374N0490 and 374N0495, that were published on Page 1 of the Oregon Journal on January 23, 1933. The photographs were published under the headline “Some Views from the Court of the Queen of Snows.” This photograph had the caption: “Governor Meier is crowning Queen Marie.” The photographs accompanied a story, headlined “Winter Sports Events Viewed by Thousands.” Also see image No. 374N0554. Image note: Light leak on negative.

Person splashing into outdoor pool on winter day

Photograph of an unidentified person splashing into an outdoor pool from a trail. The ground and trees are covered with snow. A second unidentified person is standing on the trail, watching. The photograph may have been taken at the Swim Resort near Government Camp, Oregon. The resort was also known as the Mount Hood Mineral Springs. Also see image Nos. 374N0489 and 374N0551.

Sledders on toboggan run

Photograph of three unidentified people riding a sled down an elevated track, probably the toboggan run at the Battle Axe Inn in Government Camp, Oregon. The ground and trees on either side of the run are covered in snow.

Ski jumper in midair at Multorpor hill

Photograph of an unidentified ski jumper in midair at the Multorpor jump hill near Government Camp, Oregon. The number 7 is written on the negative and is visible in the upper right corner. The angle of the photograph, the number in the corner, and the light leak at the side of the negative suggest this photograph may have been taken during a competition at the Portland Winter Sports Carnival on January 22, 1933; see image No. 374N0490.

Skiers in Government Camp

Photograph, taken from behind, of three unidentified skiers in the snow in Government Camp, Oregon. The Battle Axe Inn is partially visible in the background. The number 2 is written on the negative and is visible in the upper right corner of the image.

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